As you may have read in the comments on THIS post, most people thought I was crazy for camping alone. The majority of people who know me weren’t shocked by the fact that I would fly solo on a camping trip, but it’s one thing to know you can do it, and another thing to load up your car and actually do it. I like to walk the walk and be a doer, so this past weekend was my chance to prove that I could do it. Of course, being alone for a couple nights meant I had a lot of time to think, be present, and reflect. I’ve been moderately stressed with my impending thesis defense, the prospects of finding a “big girl” job, and my upcoming transition from student to real world adult. This trip came at a perfect time and I was ready to be free and uninhibited for a couple days, doing things in nature, and living in the moment, free of technology and responsibility.
INSTINCT. One of the best things I read before adventuring solo was about trusting my instinct. I like to think I get a pretty good read on situations and can judge people pretty well, but it takes practice to be able to go with your gut. I trust my instinct to guide me and it was no different this weekend. I felt comfortable and safe in Honeymoon Lake Campground, and I felt good about the people around me. On the contrary, Jo and I drove down a crazy difficult road to the banks of Abraham Lake, intending on potentially setting up camp along the shores but I just felt really weird about it. I felt uneasy and nervous and I trusted myself enough to say we shouldn’t camp there. My mom has a really good “sixth sense” as we call it, and I’d like to think I have the same. I felt weird vibes about hiking Cavell Meadows and it was enough to know that I didn’t feel comfortable hiking there, so I went a different route. When I’m adventuring alone, I know I can trust my instinct.
YOU CAN DO HARD THINGS. I found myself trusting my abilities and my knowledge all weekend. I have good experience in camping and a fair amount of hiking experience, so I knew I had the skills and know-how to be in the situation I was in, but I definitely had to remind myself a couple times that I could do hard things. It takes a bit of patience and confidence, but paddling against a strong headwind back to the shores of Pyramid Lake and driving through an intense thunderstorm kept me humble and pushed me to believe in myself.
FIND YOUR SOUL. Dipping into nature for the weekend pushes me to find my soul. I am reminded of how much I love to be outside and how little I need my phone and computer. I get to connect with the energy of being in the mountains and it’s a spectacular thing. My soul craves fresh air, lung bursting hikes, creek water between my toes, and the noises of birds and chipmunks in the trees. I never found myself bored or getting tired of being alone because I was always thinking and wondering and okay with being at peace in the silence of nature. This weekend was the best possible thing for my soul.
I love these quotes, “Out there in the wild, your brain goes into detailed intensity mode. The world tastes richer, is more interesting,” from THIS article and “Solo camping can stoke your appetite for adventure, bring you closer to nature, and put you in touch with your true self,” from THIS article. Most people get anxious if they’re alone with only their thoughts. No screens, no technology, just you and time to think. It takes nature to let you know – being alone is okay. You need space and time to think and to grow and learn about yourself. Take that time.
I did an easy solo camp. I was surround by well-intentioned families, fellow hikers and cyclists tackling adventures of their own. I had the supplies and gear I needed, and my cell phone reception was a mere 30 minute drive away. I went for two nights, and camped in a Parks Canada “primitive” campground. Relative to backcountry, poor weather, deep in the forest, alone camping, I took the easy route, but I still learned a lot and I’m really proud of my weekend. Happy camping folks. 🙂